NEWS: USA: 3 articles re: "smuggling" bust on reservation

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Mon, 14 Dec 1998 12:41:14 -0800 (PST)


35 CHARGED WITH
                   SMUGGLING CHINESE
                   ACROSS CANADIAN
                   BORDER

                   From Tribune News Services
                   December 11, 1998

                   WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Smugglers
                   brought thousands of illegal Chinese
                   workers into the United States through a
                   remote Indian reservation along the
                   Canadian border, Atty. Gen. Janet Reno
                   said Thursday as she announced the arrests
                   of 35 alleged smugglers and Indian
                   accomplices.

                   Reno said the alleged ring, based in New
                   York City, is the largest such smuggling
                   operation detected along the northern
                   border. Many of the 35 suspects were
                   arrested in sweeps Wednesday after a year
                   of investigation, authorities said.

                   Ringleaders face federal conspiracy and
                   alien-trafficking charges. Some of the
                   approximately 3,600 young Chinese men
                   allegedly smuggled in over two years and
                   some U.S. employers also may face
                   charges, authorities said.

                   Smugglers tried to take advantage of the
                   lightly patrolled border between New York
                   state and Canada and the sometimes
                   confusing overlap of American, Canadian
                   and tribal government jurisdictions, officials
                   said.

                   "The geography of the (reservation area) is
                   perfect for smuggling" of human cargo as
                   well as the more traditional contraband of
                   alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, said Thomas
                   Maroney, U.S. attorney in Albany, N.Y.

                   Smugglers working with accomplices on or
                   near the St. Regis Mohawk Territory hid
                   about 150 illegal immigrants a month in safe
                   houses and then took them more than seven
                   hours by car to New York City, according
                   to authorities.

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Friday December 11 2:12 AM ET

Chinese Smuggling Ring Busted

By CRISTINA C. BREEN Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - When police pulled over the serving van last October,
they found nine
illegal Chinese immigrants inside, stacked on top of each other like lumber.
All had paid thousands
of dollars to get to New York City.

Authorities had just uncovered part of what they say was the largest
immigrant smuggling ring ever
along the nation's northern border.

Smugglers brought thousands of illegal Chinese workers into the United
States through a remote
Indian reservation along the Canadian border, Attorney General Janet Reno
said Thursday.

Thirty-five people were arrested this week, 10 of them in Canada.

Authorities are still searching for 12 others. All are accused of being part
of the New York-based
ring that helped 3,600 Chinese citizens enter the United States over a
two-year period, netting
more than $170 million.

``This was a huge profit-making deal,'' Immigration and Naturalization
Service spokesman Michael
Gilhooly said. ``Smugglers are taking part in a major criminal enterprise.
Helping the immigrants is
never one of their main goals.''

Ring leaders face federal conspiracy and alien trafficking charges. Some of
the young Chinese men
allegedly smuggled in, as well as some U.S. employers, may also face
charges, authorities said.

``There is no safe haven for those who seek to profit from human misery and
suffering,'' Reno said
at a news conference in Washington.

The immigrants paid as much as $47,000 each to travel a complicated route
through two or three
continents before ending up in Canada, where they were smuggled by boat
across the St.
Lawrence River, U.S. and Canadian authorities said.

Smugglers were able to evade border patrol officers when crossing into the
United States at the St.
Regis Mohawk Indian reservation in upstate New York because there are few
checkpoints on the
reservation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Kinsella said.

Once at the reservation, immigrants were loaded into cars and vans and
driven to New York City's
Chinatown.

``A couple of them were stuffed in the trunk of a car,'' U.S. Attorney
Thomas Maroney said. ``In
one case, they were packed in a van like cord wood.''

Authorities said there is no evidence tribal government leaders on the St.
Regis reservation knew of
the alleged smuggling operation.

Authorities have not been able to identify all the immigrants, but those who
have been detained are
being held in administrative custody and may be deported, Kinsella said.

Last month, federal officials announced that authorities had dismantled the
largest illegal immigrant
operation ever uncovered in the United States, a ring allegedly responsible
for smuggling more than
12,000 Indians and other foreigners.

Twenty-one people were arrested in that case, which involved alleged
smuggling over the border
with Mexico.
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U.S. Says Chinese Smuggling Ring Used Tribal Land

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Canadian officials charged Thursday that
American Indians
helped a major ring run by Chinese nationals smuggle 3,600 immigrants
through a Mohawk
reservation on the border of the two nations.

In providing new details on the largest smuggling operation ever broken up
on the U.S. northern
border, they said the ring smuggled the Chinese immigrants from Canada
through the St. Regis
Mohawk Reservation on their way to New York City.

Of the 35 people arrested in the two countries, eight were American Indians
who allegedly
conspired with the ring to bring the young men from China's Fujian Province
into the United States
over the past two years, the officials said.

``This is the first large-scale alien smuggling operation we have
encountered on the northern
border,'' U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris
Meissner told a news
conference.

``I am proud to announce the crippling of another large, complex
organization trafficking in human
beings, this one using Northern American Indian territory to attempt to
evade the law,'' she said.

The officials said the ring brought the Chinese nationals into Toronto or
Vancouver using fraudulent
documents.

The immigrants were taken to the Canadian border city of Cornwall, Ontario,
transported across
the St. Lawrence River by boat to the Indian reservation in upstate New York
and then driven to
New York City, the officials said.

They said the ring collected about $47,000 per person, or a total of about
$170 million.

They conceded the vast Indian reservation land along the river was lightly
patrolled and vulnerable
to smugglers.

Meissner said immigration authorities have discovered no other cases of
Indian reservation land
along the U.S.-Canadian border being used by smugglers.

The joint operation, involving U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies,
was first disclosed
Wednesday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The officials said the initial tip that triggered the year-long
investigation came to the RCMP, and
that both nations used extensive wiretaps to gather evidence. A 1996 U.S.
law allowed
wiretapping in alien smuggling cases.

While the Canadians dubbed the first phase of the investigation ``Project
Othello,'' the U.S. officials
called it ''Operation Over the Rainbow II.''

Besides the RCMP and U.S. immigration agents, other law enforcement agencies
taking part in the
investigation were the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, the New York State
and the Toronto
police, and the FBI.

It marked the second major U.S. alien smuggling crackdown announced in the
past three weeks.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service last month said it dismantled the
largest immigration
smuggling ring in U.S. history, an operation that brought 7,200 illegal
aliens into the United States in
the last two years.


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